Monday, July 7, 2014

The No Sweat Cafe/Mock Bakery Ladies Special

In culinary school, they teach you about the restaurant philosophy.  There are a lot of positive things about hard, efficient work, being organized, creativity, being humble and tasting your food.  One of the biggest things that has been passed down without saying and has been practiced in most places I've worked is that your time is not your own.  You jump when they say jump.  If they want you more hours then you thought you were going to work that day, you do that shit with a smile on your face.
It's a little bit like an emotionally abusive relationship.

The point being, my summer break was a little shorter then expected; a little more than a week.  Hell, if you own a restaurant or work in one, it's usually a bad sign if you get that kind of break.  There's a good chance that when I do my externship this winter, I won't be able to find my way home for Christmas, so this seemed like as good of an opportunity as any to get back to Montana.

We packed up and drove to Seattle, stopping for a couple friends to join us then made the 9 hour drive to home sweet home.  This is what greeted us when we got there.

Just kidding, this guy was in his own world, I think poor belt support was the least of his worries.
My homecoming was a whirlwind of half conversations with the same questions, "How's Portland?" "Are you just loving culinary school?" and my favorite "Have you, like, been gone or something?"  It was so good to see most people and a little shitty to see others, giving me a quick reminder why I finally had to pack up and move away.

In the morning, I made my way down to the No Sweat Cafe, my humble beginnings where I started my culinary career squeezing organic juices and grating cheese while perched precariously on a stepping stool.  The place itself holds a variety of mixed emotions for me, so it's nice to just sit and be a customer every once in a while.

My niece is the next generation of broken child labor laws.  She's using the money she makes to save up for a mermaid tail.
Everything here is made from scratch, most of it for each order.  The peppers are sliced up on the spot before they're thrown on the griddle, the eggs stacked to temper before they're cracked into little metal bowls, mixed with their various accouterments and scrambled until fluffy and you can look back into the open kitchen and see the cook opening an avocado and whacking the pit with their knife to remove it from the soft flesh.

Because everything's made fresh for each order, it can sometimes be a little wait.  The locals don't mind and use this time to chat with friends or grab a coffee from my favorite place in the entire world, The General Mercantile.

Working here was probably one of my most physically exhausting jobs, but it gave me a strong work ethic and great multi-tasking abilities.  I've probably spent more time in this building then anywhere else in the world.  I'd take naps in the backroom, waitresses stepping over me to get drinks, and scrounge around under the booths, looking for change to buy candy.  This place gave my mom a way to feed and care for 5 children by herself and for that I am grateful.

In honor of the No Sweat, here's my version of one of the more popular menu items, the Bakery Ladies Special.  It's a hash made with potatoes, green onions, sausage, cheddar cheese and garlic.

Mock Bakery Ladies Special

2 russet potato
2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
4 oz. ground pork sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh sage, minced
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, picked
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, picked and minced
1 tsp garlic powder
4 Tbsp chives, minced
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated


1. Par boil the potatoes until tender.  Allow to cool

2. Grate potatoes on the large holes of a box grater.

3. Heat a medium saute pan to medium high, add one Tbsp of oil and when it starts to shimmer, add your pork sausage.

4. Break up the sausage into little pieces and allow to carmelize before moving around the pan.  before it's completely done cooking, throw in your minced garlic, sage, thyme, and rosemary and cook thirty seconds longer.  Salt and pepper to taste.

5. Set sausage aside on a plate, clean out your pan and set it on medium high heat with the other tablespoon of oil.

6.  When the oil starts to shimmer, place all of your shredded potatoes in an even layer.  Sprinkle on the garlic powder and salt and pepper.

7.  Cook the potatoes until they're golden brown on one side then hash the sausage in to the potatoes.  Cook on one side until golden brown then flip.

8.  Sprinkle your cheddar cheese and chives evenly over the top of the potatoes, pour a 1/4 cup of water around the sides of the hash and immediately cover with a lid.  Let it steam until the cheese is melted.

9. Slide onto a plate and fat it up.  Throw some garlic aioli on top or just a blob of sour cream and hot sauce.  Fuck yeah.

1 comment:

  1. WHERE DID MY COMMENT GO!? I want this food in my fat face RIGHT THIS INSTANT. God I'm hungry. Stupid midnight mixed with my stupid laziness. *grumble grumble*